I owe someone a return text.  Since May.  This is not normal for me- I break into hives if I go a few hours before I can respond to a WordPress  comment on my blog.  I always write back as soon as possible.  So why has this text gone unanswered for months?

R- Happy Birthday

Me- Thank you!!!!!!!!!!

R- Are you ever going to talk to me again?

Me-

First off- here’s the spoiler- it will be abundantly clear that this is NOT the person I spoke of yesterday.  But we will take another trip down memory lane……

1980/81:  I kind of dated a guy in High School.  I like him well enough, but it wasn’t an earth shattering attachment.  We never had sex.  We “broke up” once because he told me he was taking someone else to our Spring Formal.  The problem was, I really didn’t care.

1982 and beyond- We don’t see nor speak to one another.  I don’t think I thought about him for even a nanosecond.

2009- R finds me on Facebook.

2009-2014- R calls me once, maybe twice a year.  He talks incessantly about his golf game.  I don’t know anything about golf.  I don’t know anything about golf because I don’t like golf,  and I don’t care about golf. Unless it’s mini- because I love mini golf.  But did you ever listen to a golfer wax poetic about courses they play?  When you don’t know a green from a sand trap?

2014- Though he has switched to texting me his golf stories (whew- now I really don’t have to pretend to be interested) he throws in a curve….

R- You were the one that got away.  You were the great love of my life.  I’m sorry I treated you so poorly.

Me- Thanks for telling me that.  I appreciate your candor and honesty.  It’s ok- I think I got over our relationship awhile ago.  

R- Didn’t you feel the same way?  Wasn’t I the love of your life?

Me- I’m sorry.  I had fun with you back in High School, but that was it.  You are a nice memory.

2015- He texts, now about 4 times a year, but the texts have a different tone.  He now regales me stories from our past- things we did together.  He remembers outfits that I wore.  He talks about “our song”.  I didn’t remember the outfits he was talking about, and I apparently wore them.  And I don’t remember having a song.  Truly.  And up until 50 I had an amazing memory- like, I didn’t forget anything ever.

Early 2016

Me- I’m sorry.  I didn’t love you then.  I have no feelings for you now except for a sweet fondness of our past experiences.  You’re nice, but if you want to keep talking, it needs to be something more relevant to today.  I can’t keep talking about memories that I don’t quite remember.  While I appreciate your honesty about your past feelings, and how you felt you wronged me, these things are just not something I need to hear anymore.  I’m sorry if this hurts you but I need to repay your honesty with my own.

And he stopped texting.  Except on my Birthday in 2016.  And my birthday this year.  But this year he wanted to know if I would speak to him again.  I guess silence is a pretty good answer.

Now- here’s the thing.  If you feel the need to tell someone that you wronged them, that they were the one that got away, I think you should.  Sometimes that makes you feel better as a person.  I’m OK with the text confessional.  But- because you know there is a giant BUT here- really think about your motivation.  Why do you feel the need to bring up past memories?  Is it kindness, perhaps a sense of closure?  Do you just want to say, see how someone is doing? Or do you have ulterior motives?  Do you think it will be the start of a new relationship?  Before you reach out to an ex, think about what your expectations are.

And….remember….they might not have felt the same way about you.  Their vision of the past might be totally different from yours.  They might not remember events the same way you do.  They might not remember that you had a “song”.  You need to be able to accept that with grace and dignity.

I will probably not text him in the future.  I don’t think I have anything left to say about our shared past.  The past is a nice place to visit, but I don’t want to live there.

The following did not appear in the original post, but after reading a comment, I realized I must include this:

I felt horrible about saying these things to R.  I feel horrible about not responding.  But I felt that brutal honesty was necessary in order for him to get on with his life.

 

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54 thoughts on “The Past……

  1. It’s clear he doesn’t want to just be “friends,” so nothing would be gained by returning his texts. Your failure to return his text is your answer. I met a man several months ago who lost his wife and said he was looking for companionship to go to the movies or casino. His emails clearly showed he had other intentions and I told him flat out I would be his friend, but I was married. I never heard from him again.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I never edit my posts after publishing, but I just did after thinking about your comment. I felt horrible about telling him the truth, though probably not as bad as he felt hearing it. I also tend to ba a flirt, but I try to make sure people know it’s just for the sport, not the reality

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Well, I think you did the right thing. You’re a happily married woman and mother. What could possibly be gained keeping a relationship going with a guy who’s clearly after more than friendship? Time for him to move on.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, I thought he was very brave. I mean really, I know that was hard, and I actually appreciated that this was weighing on him. But I don’t know what he expected of me. And truthfully, even if I was single, my answer would have been exactly the same

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      1. When I thought about my response I realized it sounded weird. It’s not like a million guys have told me how wonderful I am. It was just two other guys, but I think they were putting out feelers for sex. That’s why I didn’t mention it in the post

        Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s hard, because some were people that were very important once, but life has brought you in very different directions. But I did reconnect with one it two friends and we’ve formed very nice adult friendships. But I agree, most of the time there is no connection.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. This is such a totally appropriate response on your part. He’s obviously got a lot going on in his life (or nothing, depending on the extreme that is definitely happening) and feels the need to connect with others. Usually people get it by the third time, when the other person isn’t as responsive. Good luck with this one!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I wouldn’t worry too much about hurting his feelings. It isn’t exactly a fresh loss for him. I would suspect by the timeline that that was when you came up in his mind. And that’s when he reached out. Probably not too deep a motive, just testing waters…facebook tends to do that to grown folks. 😒 Why I stay off it for the most part…woot.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Tough call for sure but brutal honesty is the way to go. When did honesty have to become brutal anyway? It’s like we can’t be honest any more because it might hurt someone’s feelings. Not being honest in dehumanizing I think. Good for you.xo

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You did the right thing. He was trying to rekindle a flame that never existed. He was in love with the fantasy of being in love with you.

    On the upside, it’s nice to know you’re unforgettable and the catch of the century.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “Wasn’t I the love of your life?” Wow… that just totally floors me. I mean, the hubris alone. He reminds me of one of those ex-jocks who’s never gotten over himself, still living that one touchdown catch in his junior year. I think you have NOTHING to feel bad about. – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, 50s are interesting. I think we are more on a spiritual journey to be happy and suddenly people from our past start popping up. I recently saw a guy I knew from grade school that I have not seen in over 40 years. It was nice and strange ALL at the same time. Strange, because we look older and a lot has happened in 40 years, nice because we have the same childhood memories. Wonder what the 60s will bring? You’ll have to start a NEW Blog for that one. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s sad to watch people desperately reach for something that exists only in their imagination. Apparently the life R has led so far is what makes him look in the rear view mirror for answers. You did the right thing; he’ll find out soon enough that the only way forward lies in the present and not the past.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I think it was okay for him to tell you, all these years later, that he felt he had treated you badly and to apologize. That probably made him feel better and didn’t make any demands on you. But to tell you that you were the love of his life, repeatedly, especially after you made it clear that you didn’t feel the same way seems rather sleazy to me. I think he definitely had ulterior motives, and you were absolutely right to be honest with him. Rekindling a friendship is one thing; living in the past…and one that you remember so differently….is very unhealthy!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Honestly, he seems kind of selfish. I agree, it takes monumental courage to admit to someone that “you were the love of my life and I let you get away because I didn’t treat you right”. And I agree, I think it’s worth saying to someone, if only even to get it off your chest. But admitting to something like that is not the same as trying to rekindle the relationship (and I use that word in the loosest sense to mean anything from the romantic to the casual acquaintanceship). I agree with you that you can’t live in your past, and you can’t even build a present friendship on a shared past if there is also nothing being shared in the presence. His lack of insight into talking about things that are of no interest to you and even his very persistence speak of selfishness to me.

    I have, over the last few years, reconnected with high school classmates of mine who would not have been people I considered “friends” in high school. They were people I knew and interacted with when necessary, and the interactions were positive, but there was no spark beyond that. However I have discovered that Facebook is a great way of keeping casually in touch with people like that when the alternative is not ever communicating. They share what they want of their life, and you share what you want of yours, and if there is a mutual interest perhaps you start commenting on each other’s posts, but there is no obligation. As a result, I have discovered myself growing quite close to a couple of former classmates. We have still not seen each other in over twenty years, but we talk regularly online and by email and I am absolutely gratified by these new friendships because they are valuable to me. And you know what? They are all based on shared interests or experiences we are having *right now* in the present. We may have come together because of knowing each other in the past, but it has bloomed into friendship only because such a relationship is mutually beneficial to us today. Conversely, I have very close friends from high school and college with whom I rarely correspond these days. Often it’s because, like you, they keep a very low profile on social media, which I find to be the easiest way of staying in touch with people. We are not in our daily lives even when we wish to be. But on the flip side, I find that when I do get the rare chance to catch up with these people, it’s almost like we never stopped talking. Our shared past lets us reconnect seamlessly even when we have years’ worth of experiences to share with the other that are not common. We don’t have a shared present, but we were once close enough that if we had the opportunity, we would be building those present shared experiences just as easily as we had in the past.

    If a rewed relationship can’t fall into the first or the second category, I don’t think there is much of a chance of success. I think you did the right thing by being honest, even if it hurt you to do so.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Again you are spot on with everything I feel. Relationships can’t always refer to the”remember that time ” status. Satisfying relationships have to be based on some sort of common present- you need to have a connection! As people get older, they change just because they’ve become more exposed to the world….it’s natural and just what happens.

      Liked by 1 person

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